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DS2 is graduating in July and we are having a family trip to attend the ceremony. His subject is fashion design ( so I suppose I should ask him) I need a dress that is not conventional in the LK Bennett sort of way but more Cos/Finery/Whistles but I have got into such a state about this I can't see anything I like out there at all. I can spend up to about £250, ideally a bit less. Big problem for me is that I'm a 5'3" apple and, I'm ashamed to say, around 12 stone. Face and legs OK but I'm rather broad chested and have a big rib cage, not flat chested but not bosomy either, so nothing too fitted unless cut to accommodate this type of figure. My favourite colours are bright orange, navy, muddy looking greens. Not keen on Pastels but light blue is OK. I really do need some help with this! Prepared to be adventurous for the right dress. DS did his placement at Erdem, but can't afford a dress from there.
For starters, if this style of dress isn't in your comfort zone don't feel pressured to conform to it just because of the occasion/venue. Art/Design schools/departments (I'm assuming here) are populated with people far more concerned about expressing individuality than anything else oh the horror of being perceived as unoriginal and like someone else, so if that's LK Bennett for you no one will sneer at you, at worst someone will not take notice of your outfit all that much. You're far more likely to get strange looks if you're obviously uncomfortable.
However, if it's something you'd like to try and this feels like a good occasion for it then absolutely go for it. I'm not sure what size you are but I'd say with your shape it's probably worth looking into Scandi brands, Cos, &Other Stories, possibly try Weekday and Monki (more casual focused but they have the occasional gem) for the conventional high street brands. For something more special, look at things like Marimekko (this would fit the creative artsy bill very easily but it would be something you really need to feel comfortable in), Malene Birger (somewhat more conservative but if you're contemplating trousers they do some amazing shapes), Ganni (a bit younger, very fashionable at the moment), 2nd Day (edgier diffusion brand from Malene Birger), Totême (very minimalist but perhaps too casual).
Tictail (a sort of curated minimalist etsy) is predominantly Scandi based and full of emerging designers with really interesting pieces, the shipping and returns are a bit more of a hassle though. Vintage may work too? I'd just steer away from anything too period-specific.
Does it have to be a dress? I wouldn't rule out patterned separates, there's a lot of those out there at the moment and with your shape that may actually work in your favour in terms of fit. You'll also see more use out of them potentially.
Make sure to contemplate shoes and accessories carefully, with a statement look these are the things that make and break an outfit. The more minimal the better I would say.
I saw some dresses in the kind of colour you like in jigsaw, they were quite Cos like in shape but some had bold patterns, they didn't suit me but I thought they were interesting. Good luck, it's slim pickings out there this season, I'm also looking for a graduation outfit but my son is passing out from the navy so I have to be smarter and less arty than normal!
Thank you, I've been busy all day and only just looked at the replies. no, I'm not an LKBennett sort of person, my wardrobe is mainly Toast, Coast and Jigsaw, though Toast is too droopy and dull this year. dS favours Cos, so I'll have another look. Back soon.
Just wondering if you couldn't wear a dress you are happy in -perhaps a simple navy and then accessorise it with some amazing orange shoes or scarf and earrings or something like that? So you don't have a cookie cutter off the peg look...but nothing to make you feel uncomfortable- Have you asked your DS for any input??
I have my dress!! and you will never guess where I bought it. I'm very grateful for all these suggestions and will have another look at this thread when I'm shopping again. I thought the dress was linen but in fact it is hemp, with a cotton lining. I was surprised how much the colours suited me and I will probably get a cardigan just as a throw on if it is cool. I will wear it with interesting shoes and maybe with a suitable necklace www.inisonline.com/thought-palm-baja-dress now, the final reveal..... drum roll..... it came from the Gloucester services ( same owners as Tebay) on the M5 when I popped in for an ice cream yesterday afternoon!!!!!